No doubt many of our Tauranga umpires have officiated at high levels and held important posts both nationally and internationally. We will honour those we hear about. Send in any current or historical appointments. Let's celebrate umpires and their important contribution to our amazing game.
The Tauranga connection...
Caroline Bigham is a former International umpire who lead the way for the development of officials within the Tauranga area. During her career Caroline officiated at numerous Oceania Tournaments and International Test series. After retiring from umpiring at the top level, Caroline shared her vast knowledge with the next generation of umpires within Tauranga and also throughout NZ as an Umpire Coach, and also as a Technical Official. Caroline also held posts as a Technical Official at international level. Still based in Tauranga, Carolines continued contribution to Officiating in the area is second to none, and greatly appreciated by the wider hockey community. Caroline received a Hockey New Zealand Service to Hockey Award in 2014, and was made a Life Member of Tauranga Hockey in 1999.
Caroline received the Hockey NZ Administrator of the year for 2016. A recognition at the highest level of the hard work and volunteer hours poured in by Caroline. Congratulations!
Jo Cumming grew up and commenced umpiring in Tauranga. Joanne attended the University of Waikato, and now lives in Gisborne. Jo was appointed to the FIH international umpires list in 2015. This Hockey NZ article details her achievement. A family affair for Jo, her dad Geoff Lowry played rep hockey for Tauranga and her mother was also involved in hockey, Jo's brother Ashley also played as goalkeeper and progressed to national age group honours. Most recently, Jo represented New Zealand as a Neutral Umpire at the World League Round II Tournament in Malaysia at the beginning of 2017, and the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia.
Sarah Garnett is a former International umpire from Tauranga. Garnett was named New Zealand's Female Umpire of the Year for 2006. She umpired the Semi Final at the 2002 World Cup in Perth, Australia and then in 2006 umpired the World Cup Final, held in Madrid, Spain. Sarah umpired the Final of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
Sarah Garnett also umpired at the Athens Olympics 2004 and umpired the Semi Final at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where she retired as an International Umpire.
Sarah has now moved into the role of International Umpire Manager, and has received appointments such as 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup in Holland since her retirement from umpiring at the highest level. Sarah remains one of the premier female Umpire Managers in world hockey, recently guiding the umpire panel at the Junior Women's World Cup in Chile in 2016, and the Hockey World Series in Malaysia 2019.
Gill is well known for her commitment to Coach and Player Development within Tauranga and New Zealand, having volunteered selflessly for Tauranga Hockey and Tauranga Boys' College for many years. Gill also held the role of Coaching & Development Officer at Hockey New Zealand and has continued a 'whole of sport' development approach in her current role as FIH Oceania Hockey Continental Development Officer. This all encompassing role includes delivery of Umpire Courses and Technical Official upskilling throughout the Member Nations of the Oceania region. Gill is a qualified and experienced Technical Official, holding roles throughout New Zealand as Technical Director, overseeing the smooth running of events. Gill is also conversant with the current online officiating reporting system - and has led courses and upskilling sessions on this online programme locally and nationally. Often involved with International Series this is an aspect of officiating we are hopeful to see develop further in the region.
Craig grew up here in in the Bay of Plenty and attended Tauranga Boys' College. Holding an interest in umpiring from a young age Craig progressed through the national tournament pathway and became an International Umpire, umpiring at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester among other tournaments. Craig took his career skills in teaching and presentation to contribute significantly to Umpire Coaching, developing a number of officiating educational resources before becoming the Umpire Development Manager at Hockey New Zealand, later re-named as the Hockey NZ Technical Manager, it is in this role where the Hockey NZ Pathways, and Officiating panels have been well established and supported. Parallel to this, Craig honed his skills as a wolrd class Umpire Manager, being named in this position at the past two Olympics, the last World Cup, and a large majority of FIH World Level events - such is the value of his contribution to the role. In late 2016 Craig was appointed as FIH Officiating Manager, a role he held for 2 years which included an overhaul of the 'pathways' a fresh approach to umpire reporting, feedback and development and the groundwork for the inaugural FIH Pro-League Competition.
Kelly began umpiring via school umpiring duty, part of being a 1st XI player. Seeking a different 'perspective' on the game, and hoping to become a better player as a result, Kelly committed to a full season of the umpiring duty, and was fortunate to have quality tutelage from the outset of her umpiring career from Craig Gribble, (who was the 1st XI coach). Kelly attended her first National U13 Collier Trophy Tournament at the end of a year of practicing umpiring, and never looked back.
After progressing through the National Umpire Pathway, Kelly was succesful in gaining her International Badge in 2005. Kelly's first International Tournament didn't come until 2009, and since that time, Kelly has steadily progressed her umpiring career and has experienced many highs and lows. Committed to a philosophy of continual improvement and always curious to learn more from every perspective - Kelly is now among the best umpires in world hockey and has been appointed to Olympics - London 2012 & Rio 2016, the 2010 and 2018 World Cup, Champions Trophies, World League and Continental events; 2019 and 2020 ProLeague, as well as being a regular contributor on the local and national scene. Kelly was due to umpire at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that were affected by Covid-19. Kelly is also passionate about giving back to the game and has been Umpire Manager at national age group events over the past 15 years.
We have asked all our officials who have been involved at national and international levels to advise us of their appointments so we can celebrate them here.
NZ v India Test Series
FIH Golden Whistle - 100 official senior matches
FIH World League Semi-Final - Brussells, Belgium
FIH World League Semi-Final - Johannesburg, South Africa
International Test Series - Canada v NZ
Junior World Cup Qualifier - Aus v NZ
FIH World Panel
Rio Olympic Games
Hockey NZ Umpire Council Certificates of Achievement 2015
NHL Most Valuable Umpire
NHL final - Women
2015 Affiliates women's final
U15 Girls Premier final
U13 Boys Final
Level One Umpire Grading
Junior Umpire Grading
2014 Hockey NZ Service Awards Gold Service (25 years service)
Tauranga Hockey thanks these four for their many years of service.